Mona started Teawala to fill a niche for people who want to order tea online that is carefully curated, authentically hand-plucked, and direct from farm-to-cup. Teawala is based in Hong Kong, but they ship worldwide. They currently offer a selection of regional specialties from tea farms in China, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. Since Ghograjan Tea is also authentically hand-plucked and direct from the farm, we were eager for Mona to get a taste of the best Assam tea.
A replay of the livestream can be viewed on Teawala’s Instagram page.
Some takeaways from the tasting:
- Mona tasted Ghograjan Tea’s Assam Golden Tips Tea and English Breakfast Tea
- Yash tasted the Yunnan Black and Ceylon Highlands teas sold on Teawala
- Mona found our Assam Golden Tips Tea to have a lighter-than-anticipated taste which gave her a bright and uplifting feeling. Perfect for a morning tea!
- When tea arrives in the mail tightly compressed, like Teawala's Yunnan Black, it is best to dispose the first brew since the tea needs time to open up and fully develop its taste
- Mona noted that most English Breakfast teas come as blends of tea from Assam, Kenya and Ceylon, but our English Breakfast tea is non-blended and single-origin from Assam
- The best English Breakfast tea for rich and malty taste comes from Assam
- Assam breakfast tea is often consumed with milk and sugar, but Yash and Mona prefer it black
- The traditional preference is to use boiling hot water when brewing Assam black tea. Hotter water brings out a stronger taste that pairs well with the sweetness of milk and sugar
- Our Assam Golden Tips Tea and English Breakfast Tea are made using the same production method, but the Golden Tips is a product of the Second Flush harvest (early summer). The English Breakfast is harvested year-round
- Anyone who wants to nerd out learning about our specific tea production processes and farming practices compared to other areas of Asia should check out the whole video!
We would have loved to talk even more about Mona’s incredible joy for tea, so we asked her a few follow-up questions after the event. Enjoy our little question and answer with her.
Q: Why do you love to drink tea?
A: I drink tea mostly for inspiration, positivity, calm and focus. Tea always puts me in the right headspace to tackle the challenges of the day.
Drinking tea also keeps me connected with nature, which is so important, and in particular the mountains they are grown in. I find the aromas and flavors have the ability to transport me to my happy place and bring back good memories of traveling through tea farms.
Q: What got you into tea? Where does your passion for tea come from?
A: Growing up in Hong Kong with Indian roots, tea has always played a role in the cultures that shaped me. However, it wasn't until an internship at a tea company abroad in the US that I really started to appreciate the world of tea.
Sometimes it takes seeing your home culture from another perspective to really gain appreciation. I was drawn in by the range of flavors and aromas offered by the diverse kinds of tea and blown away by the fact that all come from one plant: Camellia Sinensis.
This curiosity led me to traveling to tea farms around China, Taiwan, India and Sri Lanka. My love and passion for tea bloomed at the source. I haven't looked back since!
Q: Where do you see the tea industry headed over the next 5-7 years?
A: With the impacts of the global pandemic and resulting shift in lifestyles and values, I think more and more people are looking for things to enjoy and appreciate at home with loved ones, as well as practices to ground themselves and bring mindfulness to their day. While coffee offers a pick-me-up and productivity, tea encourages a slower pace, yet at the same time, an increased sense of focus and presence.
Specialty tea is a niche market, but I am optimistic for its growth around the world in the coming few years. People are looking for meaning in the things they consume as well as a sense of connectivity, so I feel that tea community events where people can enjoy tea together (both in person and virtually) will gain momentum, too.
Mona is as enthusiastic about tea as anyone you could meet. To keep up with her exploration of all things tea follow @teawala.
Don’t forget to check out the Teawala website and store. In addition to selling teaware and a unique selection of leaf tea online, Mona offers a tea education course so you can learn how to taste tea like a professional. Best of all, you can do your own virtual tea tasting with Mona like the one Yash did. She will send you a sampler of teas in the mail and then join you for a live tasting online.